Pokemon is a show where sentient animals are regularly made to fight each other for the amusement of their human overlords. Yet, none of these creatures hold a burning Litwick to the mistreatment of Ash Ketchum's mother, Delia Ketchum - the most tragic character on the show.
You wouldn't think her to be so tragic at first. Delia is a single mother, which, while challenging, is hardly uncommon in both the Pokemon world and ours. And Delia faces each obstacle with a smile (the most tragic ones often do), never dropping her facade of general optimism and support for her son.
But behind that beaming smile is years and years of pain. See, Delia's marriage is the type of relationship you'd screen out of Dr. Phil for being too sad. Most Pokemon fans assumed the reason Ash's father wasn't around to raise him or to see him off on his Pokemon journey was that he was dead. It's certainly the more noble explanation for why a man wouldn't be there for his son or wife. But we learn in Pocket Monsters: The Animation that Ash's dad is very much alive. He's just an Eternatus-sized piece of shit.
When Delia met Ash's father, the two fell in love almost immediately and were married shortly after. Delia then got pregnant, and her husband took this as the perfect moment to go out for cigarettes … er, hm, we mean … "begin his Pokemon journey." So, to make room for her husband's dream, Delia put her own dreams on hold. One of those dreams was to be a model. The other was to be (checks notes, oh, screw this guy) a Pokemon trainer. He has yet to come home, but Delia has never given up hope that he will one day return. She also presumably sings this every night as she cries herself to sleep:
Of course, we know Ash's dad will never return -- not unless Ash becomes a Pokemon master, and his dad shows up to say, "Son, I never stopped looking for you, and then I saw your name in the news! Hey, you wouldn't be able to help me out with a Snorlax on route 12, would you?" And even if this deadbeat did have the Poke-balls to make such a move, it would still be such bullshit. Ash is out on a Pokemon adventure but regularly makes time to come home to visit his mother. Why can't his dad?
Some have speculated it's because Ash's father is actually Giovanni, the leader of Team Rocket. But in regards to Delia, it really doesn't matter whether her husband is the leader of a crime syndicate or simply on a quest to be the very best. She has a shitty husband either way. Her story just goes from being a Betty Draper to being a Carmela Soprano.
Delia needs to get a divorce. It's not like she wouldn't have options. Her son is out of the house, she's perpetually in her late 20s, keeping it tight …
… and she owns the best eatery in town. And yeah, not everyone needs a man to find happiness, but Delia is clearly lonely. She has this weird, awkward, will-they-wont-they, non-committal sexual tension going on with her old Professor, and she has an even more bizarre relationship with her housepet/live-in-butler. Notice the hand on her thigh:
Fooling around with your Mr. Mime is the social equivalent of letting your dog eat peanut butter off of your genitals, and we know Delia Ketchum can do better. So get on out there, girl. Get a divorce, switch your dating profile to single, and tell Mewtwo to move over because Delia Ketchum is going to be the best catch in the Pokemon world the moment she gets over her scumbag husband.
Top Image: OLM, Inc.